Stress: Good or Bad?

Stress in small amounts is necessary in order to live a productive and healthy lifestyle.

First and foremost, stress is positive in that it can be a great motivating force at times and this is partly probably why we developed stress in the first place.  Stress improves some aspects of our intelligence. Stress is actually a cognitive enhancer which can boost several aspects of our mental prowess and so help us in professional and academic capacities.  Hormones are released into an individuals system as a response to a stressful event. These hormones increase the heart rate and heightens the alertness and focus level of the individual.  This response is known as “fight or flight “ which we are born with. Stress appears each time something changes, when we have to adapt to a new situation. If we manage to react in a positive way, we can use this energy. Stress then becomes a chance, an opportunity for growth. A negative reaction, however, turns this energy against us and can become fatal.


Stress helps our brain to focus. It can help you to narrow your attention and to focus on the task in hand. Stress helps to increase memory and recall .This results from higher levels of cortisone. When levels of cortisone are too high it causes damage to the hippocampus.


Stress causes the release of adrenaline which in turn raises the metabolism and heart rate. This can then result in increased reactions and reflexes, while also acting as a painkiller giving us a higher endurance level. Adrenaline can also help to fight tiredness and fatigue.  ‘Good’ stress should be acute and not something that exists over a prolonged period. This is because an increased heart rate and lack of tiredness or pain might increase your endurance over short amounts of time, but over a long period of time the stress to the body can be too great and damage your immune system and cause heart problems.


However in the right circumstances, stress can be perceived as the ‘spice of life’ and can be what creates challenge, suspense and excitement. For instance some of the most important and happiest moments of your life were probably also very stressful – your first day at work, your marriage, the birth of a child, traveling, holidays special achievements. These are highly stressful because they represent exciting positive life changes. A complete lack of stress in your life might suggest that you haven’t had any such major changes in your life and that might suggest likewise that you are not challenged in your life and not moving forward.

Stress becomes negative when the body stays uptight and alert, ready to take action as required.  Too much stress leaves a body exhausted, anxious, frustrated or angry and leads to depression. Excessive stress is overwhelming we become unable to cope with the smallest task or event. Stress and excitement upset breathing and muscle tone. To know how to breathe properly is as such of vital importance.


Chronic and ongoing stress which is not counterbalanced with periods of release can lead to emotional problems, manifesting itself into physical illnesses. However, insufficient stress can act as a depressant and leaves many people feeling bored, dejected and unable to seek goals.


The first step toward handling positive stress is to acknowledge that it exists and to seek ways to correspond an equal amount of time relaxing and regenerating. Handling stress, whether positive or negative, is important for long term health. For a good and happy life, stimulation is necessary. Too much stimulation is also harmful. We need to learn to understand the difference.Image